Periods, the only phenomenon that all women deal with alike. It’s the one thing that is common to all women irrespective of their colour, size, religion, caste, origin, etc. but still somehow nobody wants to talk about it, although that is slowly changing now. When we talk about periods, the first thing that comes to our mind is sanitary products. Which one is the right one for you? Which option is cost effective? Which one is good for the environment? Etc. Before we talk about the most popular choice in the market and why it is the most popular choice, let’s quickly take a look at what options are available in the market as a whole.
Period products available
- Tampons: Tampons work by absorbing menstrual blood internally (though leaks are not uncommon, so an additional panty-liner may be required), and can be left in for about four hours, at which point they are removed by pulling gently on the string.
- Menstrual cups: The small silicone or latex cup works by being folded and inserted internally so that it rests on the vaginal wall, where it collects blood. The cups can stay in for up to 12 hours, at which point they should be removed, emptied, rinsed, and re-used as necessary. At the end of the menstrual cycle, they should be sterilized in hot water before using for the next period.
- Menstrual discs: The lesser known menstrual disc, made of plastic or silicone, is also inserted into the vagina, and rests on the base of the cervix. Like the menstrual cup, it can stay in for up to 12 hours, and works by collecting blood in the disc. Once the user is done with it, it is removed and its contents emptied into the toilet. However, it differs from the cup in that most menstrual discs are not reusable, so are not as environmentally or cost-friendly.
- Period underwear: They look like regular underwear, except they have a special absorbent layer which prevents leakages onto clothing, and as they are washable, they are one of the most sustainable options available.
- Sanitary pads: Lastly, the most popular option amidst all in India are the sanitary pads. They are attached to the inside of the user’s underwear, and work by absorbing menstrual blood through layers of absorbent material – usually rayon, cotton and plastic.
A detailed article on different period products available in the market along with pros and cons of each is given here. (Period Products)
Sanitary pads are the most commonly used period product. The reason for this is that it has been around for decades, it is easily accessible and it is the easiest product to use. But off late the popularity of sanitary pads is slowly reducing for several reasons like skin irritation experienced by users, the non-environment friendly nature of it and the fact that there are other cost-effective options available.
As an individual, one might wonder are sanitary napkins a “one size fits all” thing or should it be tailored to each one separately? The answer is, like all other health specific needs, sanitary napkins too are available in different types to cater to different women, so no, there is no “one size fits all”. So what are the factors that one must consider before choosing the best sanitary pads for you? Here are some tips to remember while making the choice:
- Material: The material of the pad is what determines how comfortably it will sit on your body. Cotton sanitary pads is the best option for anyone with sensitive skin as more often than not, they never cause rashes or irritation (make sure you choose unscented ones). Avoid ones with a plastic top layer.
- Length and Flow: One should buy a sanitary pad according to your flow. The first time you get your period, you might want to try a regular-sized napkin but if the regular size seems to be filling up too quickly, then try a longer size pad. It totally depends on the body shape and flow whether you need an extra-long pad with broad hip-guard or a regular one. There are special night pads which feature a longer length and a wider back to avoid staining your sheets while you’re sleeping.
- Cost of sanitary pads: Pads are available in a variety of pack sizes and the product cost ranges from Rs 5 per pad to Rs 12 per pad. Considering generally you get your period every month for around 40 years, the sanitary pads price definitely adds up. So looking for value for money as well as a good performing product is important. Look for larger packs if they are available and stock up when you find them on sale. In 2018, India announced pads as tax free product.
- Absorbency: The sanitary pad absorption capacity lets you decide if you need an extra absorbent pad or just a regular pad. The major factor for the pad is to absorb the blood flow without any back-flow or leakage. The best option is to use two different types of sanitary pads with different absorbencies— one that can take care of heavy flow days and a lighter absorbency napkin for lighter flow days.
- Environment concerns: As already mentioned before, sanitary pads are not the most environment friendly as they are of the “once use and throw” category. But with changing time, there are some sanitary pad options which are better for the environment than traditional ones. Cloth pads are available, which are washable and reusable. They are also cotton hence being easy on the skin. There are some disposable pads which are made of bamboo and other plant fibres, making it easy degradable when disposed.
These are some general rules to follow for period hygiene as well.
- Wear cotton panties to keep it breathable and fresh down there.
- Change every 4-5 hours to avoid any infection.
- Wash the vaginal area every time you change your pad.
- Take warm baths to ease the cramps and pain.
- Don’t throw an open pad or flush a pad in the toilet.
- Don’t wait for the pad to get full.
- Don’t use soaps.
Having said all of this, keep in mind that you have to pick what is the best fit for your body, and not follow what works for someone else.
To help you tick off all of the above concerns while buying a sanitary napkin, &Me has launched the “No compromise” Sanitary pads!
At &Me, we want to give women everything they want! Women asked us for three things in a sanitary pad and our “No Compromise” Sanitary Pads covers it all! It is Rash free, feather soft layers, 6 layers of heavy flow protection, ADL technology for superior absorption, Extra absorbent gel sheets, and a secured comfort fit. It is Toxin free and odor free. Made in India!
You will fall in love with &Me No compromise sanitary pads once you start using them. And once you are done with them, you can easily dispose them in these biodegradable pouches!
Great for you. Great for environment.
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